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Meredith Broadcasting's WSHM-TV First On Air with Innovative Grass Valley Ignite System

Meredith Broadcasting's WSHM-TV First On Air with Innovative Grass Valley Ignite System

 

Integrated Production System Brings Local News to Unserved Springfield Market.

 

Paris/Nevada City, Calif., November 14, 2005 — On October 12, WSHM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Springfield, Mass., became the first station in the country to go on air with a new Grass Valley™ Ignite automated production system from Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS). The system, operated by a single operator, handles the entire production and has enabled the station to add more than six hours of local news coverage each week to a programming schedule that did not have news before.

At WSHM-TV, the Ignite system is now delivering a very clean-looking on-air image for its new newscasts (1/2 half hour at 6:00PM & 11:00PM seven days a week), which has instantly made it competitive (and able to generate revenue) in the local news business. Once the system has been in operation for several months, the station plans to add more locally produced news programs to its schedule.

The Ignite system works in tandem with the station's four M-Series servers (eight playout ports) inside an existing office building in Springfield. Signals are sent to a master control facility in Hartford, via a dedicated fiber-optic link.

"We created a newscast around the Grass Valley Ignite system, that's how much confidence we had in it," said Tom Shelburne, operations manager at WSHM-TV, adding that he hired two computer-savvy directors, who had never seen the Ignite system before, were able to run the entire newscast after only a few weeks of training.

For many years WSHM, located in market #106 and owned by Meredith Broadcasting, had previously been taking news programming from its sister station, WFSB-TV, in Hartford, Conn. About two years ago, station management made a deal with the local cable operator to carry WSHM exclusively in the area. With Ignite, the community gets more local programming while Meredith gains from the Grass Valley Ignite system's efficiencies.

"With very little overhead, the Grass Valley Ignite system allows small to medium-sized stations like WSHM-TV to produce news accurately and affordably, while competing with the larger stations in their markets," said Marc Valentin, president of the Grass Valley business within Thomson. "While broadcasters struggle to meet the competitive threats for advertising dollars moving over to other mediums, they must find more efficient workflow solutions that still allow them to produce high quality content. The Ignite system addresses this need and more, allowing stations to produce more content than before."

Due to its ability to streamline operations, reduce technical errors, and improve their on-air quality, a growing number of U.S.-based television broadcast groups have expressed strong interest in deploying the Grass Valley Ignite system across their stations.

"Our goal was to add news at WSHM for quite some time and now we have it thanks to the Grass Valley Ignite system," Shelburne said, adding that he's planning to install a similar Ignite system in Hartford at WFSB-TV next year.

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